The leadership of the Episcopal Church, practiced by decades of political activism, are experts at it and it just never ceases to amaze me how easily manipulated the so-called "structures" of the Anglican Communion are to this type of strategic maneuvering. We recall that after the Presiding Bishop returned from the Primates Meeting in Tanzania a few years ago, she spelled it out quite plainly to her staff (which was recorded and later removed from the TEC website) exactly what the strategy would be. TEC would keep dialoguing until all the opposition had either retired or thrown up their hands and gone home.
Hearing today's news from the so-called "Standing Committee" meeting in London - not apparently accountable to anyone (and hence why so many people have resigned from it!) - that the Episcopal Church will continue to dominate the structures (it's been years now since the primates have actually met) with no discipline what-so-ever and the reason given is so that "dialogue" will continue. It's such a joke - there is no such thing as dialogue (that would mean there is an openness to the distinct possibility that TEC has careened off the rails and is running ripshod over the landscape, intending to take everyone with them) - "dialogue" is a METHOD for wearing down opposition.
Here's the scoop from today's "meeting" in London:
- Committee decides separation would inhibit dialogue.
- UN Anglican Observer: "Our Anglican witness is becoming visible."
- ACC "proper body" to consider Primates' request for eight Standing Committee members
ACC consultant Robert Fordham and ACO Director for Finance and Administration Andrew Franklin introduced the Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2009. The Committee subsequently agreed to adopt the report.Yikes - they don't even "report" what the "report" said - and it does make one wonder. Since the meetings are "closed" who has any clue what they are doing? They might as well just order pizza and catch the cab to Heathrow.
But wait, there's more! Patterson - the man who WON'T GO AWAY is now BACK!
Canon Kearon then reported that during his visit to New Zealand earlier this year he had met with an informal group about the planning of ACC-15. Bishop John Paterson has been selected to Chair an official planning group and the venue has been selected as Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland. The group also identified the strong mission theme of ACC-14 as something they would like to continue.Note that he met with an "informal" group (what did he do, ring up a few mates to meet for beer and chips?) that went on to plan the entire next meeting of the ACC? Who is writing this stuff?
Naturally, the one province that is as progressive - at least if not more - as TEC (have you seen their prayer book??) will host the next ACC meeting. And while they're at it, as they reach for more chips and dip and scribble notes on the napkins, let's be sure it's as far away as possible, say - not only a different time zone, but a completely different date zone. Yes! And how much is this all going to cost? Oh, who knows - because there's no public report on the finances. Can it get any worse?
Even Kenneth Kearon is seeing the writing on the wall, "noting that the credibility of the Primates' Meeting and the ACC was being openly questioned by some and this criticism was increasingly focused on the Standing Committee itself." But guess what the rest of the "committee" says? Tough Doo Doo, folks, with Elizabeth Paver defending their sinking ratings by saying "the Committee needed to respond to criticisms positively and robustly," and then pointed out the flak that has just been hired to carry the shovel.
Rowan Williams gets two thumbs up for trying. He is reported to have warned, excuse me "questioned" the "committee" by asking (a nice rhetorical method) "whether the ACC's committee structure was appropriate for this new century?" Bingo, your Grace! You are absolutely right. But guess what - the Standing Committee responded by putting together a little self-appointed insiders group of their own members to type up "a strategic review and planning process relating to ACC membership and meetings and Standing Committee structure and operation." Who's on this little inside group? Who knows? Pass the pizza!
Read the "report" for yourself. In the meantime, the cafe is offering a little musical interlude for your listening pleasure:
UPDATE: Anglican Curmudgeon has weighed in his opinions here, particularly on some of the "legal" decisions. If communications are truly an issue, this will be a good place to begin to disipher why confidence is waning in this particular group:
At Jamaica in May 2009, it was Canon Rees and the (then) Joint Standing Committee who, meeting a day in advance of the start of ACC-14 itself, declared that they had ruled that the Rev. J. Philip Ashey was not "qualified" to serve as an alternate representative of the Province of Uganda, because although canonically resident in Uganda, he was physically resident in the United States, and thus was violating the moratorium against border-crossing. Sources informed us at the time that the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori argued vehemently against allowing him to be seated, and her views prevailed in the Committee.
After one of the sessions at ACC-14, Canon Rees participated in a press conference, where he gave some background to the impending constitutional changes for the ACC, and answered questions from the floor. There is an .mp3 file of the session which may be listened to or downloaded from this page. The first question addressed to Canon Rees had to do with the interpretation which the JSC had given to the word "qualified" so as to refuse to seat the Rev. Ashey, and he was asked whether anything would be different under the new constitutional structure.
If you listen to his response (beginning at about 07:30), you will hear Canon Rees first point out that the same language about a "qualified" representative appears in the new articles. He goes on to say that nothing in the new provisions should cause any change in the interpretation of the word "qualified":
The Joint Standing Committee, meeting and making that decision, if it were faced with the same decision again, I would imagine would approach it on the same sort of basis: and the basis, the underlying basis, must be that . . . as charity trustees, they have an overriding duty to see that the overall purposes of the charity are sustained, and so if a decision is being made which appeared to be undermining the arrangements for the charity generally, then I would expect them to approach it the same way on another occasion.
Except that, this time, in the case of Bishop Douglas, who is in continuing violation of the moratorium against allowing same-sex blessings in his diocese, Canon Rees advised the Committee that it could seat him, nonetheless. One sees clearly by this decision who controls the "Standing Committee", and just whom Canon Rees is really serving with his "advice."
To claim that seating a representative who was engaged in "border-crossing" would undermine "the arrangements for the [ACC] generally," thereby triggering the duty of the Trustee-Members to take action to prevent it, while now seating, as one of the very Trustee-Members of the ACC, a representative who sanctions the blessing of same-sex unions by the clergy under his pastoral directions, is another of those hypocritical acts which is the hallmark of those who lean to the left. In their mind, there is no hypocrisy. For in the first instance, the Committee acted to block a representative who was inimical to the views of its majority, while in the second instance, it upheld the status of one who espouses those views.
Costly flaks aren't going to fix this. Read it all here.